And while any trip to this Balkan nation is likely to include a stop in its charming capital, Zagreb, there’s plenty more to do than just hang out in the cities.
In this podcast we talk to Select Croatia’s Maja Gudelj about her home country, and cover such topics as food and drink, adventure, and her idea of a perfect Croatian holiday.
1. Enjoy some southern hospitality
Spending time with locals is always a good thing! If you find yourself invited into a Croatian home, you’ll probably be offered a glass of home-made liquor such as the plum brandy Craig and I enjoyed on a fateful train trip during our first trip to the country!
2. Drink wine
Croatian winemakers were largely responsible for the development of the wine industry in Australia and New Zealand — which we are very grateful for! Plus, the American grape, Zinfandel, has recently been shown to have developed in Croatia.
Visit Istria for wine, olive oil and truffles. Continental Croatia is great for smoked meats, and Dalmatia is worth a visit for its white wine, fresh grilled fish, and a special beef stew in a plum sauce that’s only made on special occasions.
4. Zipline through the Cetina Canyon
This experience is more than just a quick 100m flight across some nice scenery — it’s a full experience that will take a couple of hours, with more than 2km of ziplines.
5. Go to an oyster farm and taste the original European oyster
Most of the oysters eaten today are a Japanese variety — wrap your tastebuds around the European one for a flavour experience.
6. Explore the islands: go sailing!
Croatia’s islands are worth spending some serious time in: hire a sailboat or hop on an organised trip to visit one or two during your stay. Biševo is particularly worth a visit for its Blue Cave.
7. Soak in the healing waters of the Adriatic
The Adriatic’s high salt content makes floating particularly easy — great for a relaxing afternoon or seven. The sun’s reflection off the water can be rather bright, so make sure to bring your sunglasses.
8. Visit the cities
You’re almost certain to find yourself in a city at some point during your stay. Over the past ten years, the country’s second-largest city, Split, has been enjoying a transformation from transport hub to destination in its own right. We particularly liked it! We weren’t as enamoured with Dubrovnik, despite its beautiful old town, as intensive tourism has stripped it of much of its charm.
When’s the best time to go to Croatia?
If you’re there just for the beach, the summer months of June, July or August are your best bet. If you’re looking for adventure, avoid the heat and summer crowds, and choose the shoulder season of September-October, or come earlier in the year, like April or May. And if you’re wanting a quality Croatian cultural experience — you’ll get it any time of year! Avoid July and August if you’re going to be doing a lot of walking around though, as the heat can be oppressive.
[box] This episode of the Indie Travel Podcast is sponsored by Select Croatia.
Whether you want to go sailing in Split, or sightseeing in Dubrovnik, or hiking along the Plitvice Lakes, Select Croatia can put together a Croatian vacation to remember!
Find out more about Select Croatia.[/box]
You can also listen to our Slovenia and Croatia podcast from 2012!